Category Archives: Dogs


Regalo, August 30, 2022

A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast … (Proverbs 12:10)

He was an unwanted gift. My sister gave him to my dad because Dad had recently lost his “Tiny” Chihuahua, literally. He had left her inside his unlocked car and someone took her. Dad grieved the loss of his little companion that went everywhere with him and my sister wanted to ease the pain. However, Dad was not ready for a replacement, but he accepted the “gift” because of the giver. He named him “Regalo,” which means “gift” in Spanish.

Dad gets the “Gift,” August 2009

Dad had trouble housebreaking Regalo, and once the pup was big enough, he was put outside for good. At the time, Dad pastored a church in Brady, Texas and he lived in the parsonage next to the church building. He strung a wire between the church building and the parsonage and tethered Regalo to the line so that he could run back and forth between the two. He also built a dog house for shelter and basically forgot about the dog. Oh, he fed and watered him and showed him affection whenever he came outside, but other than that, Regalo was pretty much ignored. I do not mean to make it sound as if Dad mistreated Regalo. Dad loved all kinds of animals. Regalo was fed, watered, sheltered, and taken to the veterinarian for all his shots, and while he was tethered, he did have a lot of space to run. The tether kept him safe from getting ran over by a car – Dad did not have a fenced yard. However, anyone who has dogs understands that they are social animals, and they want to be around their packs. This is what Regalo missed.

Regalo came to us when he was five years old. Here he is just back from his first visit to the groomer on September 9, 2014.

Regalo was born sometime in June 2009, and my sister gave him to my dad when he was about eight weeks old in August 2009. Dad went to be with the Lord on August 27, 2014, and we held his funeral on September 2, 2014. Afterward, us siblings got together to divide up the “inheritance;” Dad did not leave much behind, but Regalo, now five years old, was one of those. He was flea infested and in bad need of a grooming. June wanted to “rescue” him, but I was not so eager. We already had two other dogs, Nacho and Chico, and I did not think we needed a third. My sister also wanted to take him, but she had no place for him at that time. So, we agreed that we would take Regalo and keep him until my sister found a house where she could keep him.

After several hours of bathing with flea shampoo, Regalo came home with us. On the way home, June carried him in her lap. Poor little guy – I say “little” because he only weighed 10 pounds at that time – was so nervous and scared that he peed on June’s lap. “Great!” I thought, “Now we have to worry about housebreaking him.” Along the way, we made a couple of unscheduled stops so that he could “go,” and he did fine the rest of the way home.

Housebreaking was not that hard for Regalo. He only had a couple of “accidents,” but he quickly learned where to do his business. He even learned how to ask to be let out. During his first week with us, we took him to a “dogapalooza” in our neighborhood for shots and a checkup. There we learned that Regalo had heartworm and treatment would cost between $600 and $800. I called my sister with the news and offered an option. I would pay for the treatments and she could reimburse me, or I would pay for the treatments and keep the dog. There was no hesitation. “You keep him,” was her immediate response. The treatments involved two rounds of injections about a month apart and restricted activity. For Regalo, “restricted activity” seemed to be second nature to him. He was one chilled pup.

With his heartworm treatments completed, Regalo got up to a respectable fighting weight of 20 pounds. I don’t know if it was because of the bout with heartworm, but Regalo was a low-energy dog. He would walk until he found a good place to flop and drop for a nap. It was usually in our path of travel, and our approach did not motivate him to move. He was happy to let us step over him. Sometimes he would park himself right under our feet without our knowledge and get his big “Grinch-feet” stepped on. However, that was one lesson he never learned.

After I retired in December 2019, Ragalo was happy just to be near me.

I retired in December 2019. Regalo was now ten years old. He and I grew closer during that time. He would follow me from room to room and whenever I found a good roost, he would flop down beside me. He was content just to be near me. We moved from Garland, Texas to Columbus, Nebraska in April of 2022. Regalo was approaching his 13th birthday. Our new house in Columbus included a basement, something we Texans were not used to. I have a “man cave” down in my basement, and I can spend hours down there. When I would come up, I would find Regalo waiting for me at the top of the stairs. God designed Regalo with stubby legs; getting down the steep stairs scared him, so he was happy to wait for me at the top of the stairs. When I finally figured out what he was doing, I started carrying down his chunky self with me. There he would find a good place to flop and just knowing I was there was all he wanted.

Regalo was unassuming and never demanding. When we would sit for a meal, he would come to the table, but never beg for food, like the other dogs. If we offered, he would take it, but he would never beg. Now at the food dish, that was another thing altogether. He ruled the food dish and he let the other dogs know it. That was the only time he ever expressed any aggression, otherwise, he was very loving to the other dogs – constantly grooming them – and to us. I got lots of kisses from him.

June and I had plans to go down to Texas to take care of some doctors’ visits and other appointments at the end of March. We put Nacho down before we moved to Columbus, so we decided to take Regalo and Chico along with us. However, a couple of weeks before our trip, we noticed Regalo really slowing down, more than usual. He had become incontinent and medications were not helping. We also noticed a couple of episodes of what appeared to be seizures, so we took him off of the meds for incontinence and bought doggie diapers for him. I was really worried about him making the trip. We would be staying with our good friends, Wayne and Linda, who would be keeping our dogs, and I did not want to burden them with Regalo’s geriatric issues.

This was the last picture I took of Regalo just three days before his passing. Even here, one can tell there is little energy left in him.

I remember watching Regalo out in our big backyard. He enjoyed just laying out there and smelling the air. Then we would call him in and he would run to the door with a big smile on his face. He looked like a happy puppy even in his old age. But now, when we put him out to do his business, he did not even have the strength to hike up his leg to pee. He just flopped on his stomach and unloaded his bladder.

Finally, on Saturday, March 25, 2023, I let him out with his diaper. He took a few steps beyond our patio and laid down on the grass. After a while, I called him in and he took just a few steps inside the door and dropped on the floor. He had absolutely no energy. As I looked at him, I prayed, “Lord, please don’t make me put him down. If he needs to go, please just take him.” It was about this time last year that I had to put Nacho down, and even though he was a rather eccentric, weird dog, we loved him and it hurt to put him down. I did not want to go through the same thing with Regalo.

I scratched his head and told him what a good boy he was and went downstairs to finish up whatever it was I was doing – probably writing another blog article. About an hour later, I went back upstairs and Regalo had managed to make it up to the hallway leading to our bedroom although he was facing toward the kitchen. Again, I cradled his head in my hands, scratched his ears, and told him what a good boy he was. I could tell he was not doing well. I returned to my mancave and about an hour later, June came downstairs and said, “Ernie, I think Regalo is gone.” I left what I was doing and went straight to where I had last seen him. I found him motionless facing the direction of our bedroom. There, June kept a doggie bed in her closet and Regalo had claimed it as his personal den. I am sure he was headed for his safe place, but he didn’t make it.

I got down on the floor and put my head on his chest. No heartbeat. No breath. He was gone, just as quietly as was his nature. June got down on the floor with me and we both wept bitterly. Loving him. Stroking him. Wishing that somehow our affection would bring him around, but he was gone. Chico was there too. He was confused. He did not understand our wailing. After much crying, I picked up Regalo and cradled him in my arms holding him close to me, while June called the vet to get advice on what to do. The vet said she was on her way into the office to make rounds on her patients and that we could bring him in and she would take care of the cremation. I drove us to the vet while June held Regalo in her lap one last time. We carried him in to the vet and let her take over from there. That was the last time we would see our sweet boy.

It’s sad to think that this is all that remains of such a sweet and loving companion.

We took our short trip to the Dallas area with our “only child,” Chico. When we returned home, I went to the vet’s office to pick up Regalo’s remains – less than half a pound of ashes in a tightly sealed plastic bag. I wonder what the attendant must have thought when I remarked, “Is that all?” He was all of 20 pounds, fluffy, furry, and full of life, and this was all that remained. When the weather gets nicer, we will scatter his ashes in our big backyard where he loved to lay and sniff the air. And I can still imagine him running toward me when I call, with that big happy smile on his face. Oh! How I miss him!

This is not the first time we’ve gone through this. I remember a little friend we had many years ago. She was one we raised from a pup. She also lived to be 14. We had to put her down, and I remember the tears. As the end of her life neared, I wondered if there was a Doggie Heaven. I don’t know for sure, however, I concluded that it is certainly possible. Animals did not sin and bring the curse of death upon the world. And when God created, death was not part of His “very good” creation. Therefore, it’s very possible that animals do inherit eternal life simply because it was not God’s intention for them to die in the first place. I hope I’m right about that, and when I get to heaven, I hope to see Regalo there and when I call his name, he’ll come running to me with a big smile on his face, and along with him, all the other dogs in my pack. Regalo was a very good boy.

He loved his big backyard. “Did you call, Daddy?” This is how I want to remember him.
I will miss his smile. He was a very good boy.


Filed under Dogs, Random Musings


And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the [little] dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table. (Matthew 15:27)

This last week was a sad one for June and me. We had to say goodbye to our 15-year-old, geriatric Chihuahua, Nacho. Nacho, although surprisingly full of energy, was showing his age. He limped, albeit quickly, on his arthritic legs. Sometimes his right shoulder would lock up, and he would cry out in pain, and after a gentle massage from me, he would return to his “normal” self. He was losing his hearing and sight, which made him aggressive toward our other two dogs if they approached him unexpectedly, especially when he was trying to eat. Eating was another problem. By now, he had lost several of his molars, so he had difficulty chewing his kibble.

The last month or so, we noticed that Nacho was losing weight. Nacho was big for a Chihuahua – a lean ten pounds – so he did not have much to lose. We could count the vertebras on his back and his ribs were beginning to show. His weight loss concerned us, so we started feeding him soft canned food, but that did not seem to help. Finally, he started urinating all over the house, even after going out for a pee-pee run. He had never done that before. We concluded this was the beginning of kidney failure for the old guy.

June and I are moving to Nebraska next month. Unlike Texas, Nebraska winters can be brutal. We thought Nacho would not do well in that cold climate, with his skinny, arthritic body. That and the fact that he would be going to an unfamiliar house that he would have to navigate with his poor eyesight. Then there were the bladder control issues. We thought about putting him up for adoption, but who wants a geriatric dog with multiple health issues that could linger for another three years? (Chihuahua’s can live up to 18 years.) Oh, and did I mention that he exhibited signs of dementia? Sometimes he would walk into a room, stop dead in his tracks, and stare as if he forgot why he came into the room.

So, we thought it best to have him put to sleep. I was stuck with the dirty work, and it ripped my heart in two. It was all I could do to maintain my composure and not break out bawling there at the animal shelter. I reserved that for the drive home. June met me when I arrived home, and we embraced and cried all over each other.

It is funny – not funny, ha ha – how an animal can take over such a large part of our hearts. I had a love-hate relationship with Nacho. He was neurotic. He was skittish. He was aloof, almost cat-like, not warm and loving like most dogs. He was loud. Oh! He was oh so loud! But we had our moments. When I would reach out to pick him up, he squirmed away as if I was about to beat him (I never did), but when I finally picked him up, he would lick my face out of obligation (I think). Still, I loved the weirdo.

Nacho loved to sing along when anyone sang. I remember one Fourth of July when June and I were visiting family in Nebraska. We went to the Fourth of July parade in Platte Center, NE, and we took Nacho along with us. Before the parade started, a high school girl stared singing the National Anthem. By the third measure, Nacho was loudly singing right along with her, and I could not shut him up. I was so embarrassed!

When I was growing up, my parents would always sing “Las Mañanitas” on our birthdays. We have kept up the tradition, and when my siblings’ birthdays come around, I call them up and sing “Las Mañanitas” to them. Nacho was always ready to join in. He stopped singing when his hearing dimmed. Even when I held him and sang, he stopped joining in.

He also howled when I called him by his “full” name – Ignacio Panza Con Patas Carrasco. (Panza con patas means “belly with feet.”) It was the funniest thing. I would say his full name, and he would start howling. I do not know why. Did he understand he was being insulted? I don’t know, but when we had guests over, I would always entertain them with Nacho’s antics.


Nacho protesting being called by his full name – Ignacio Panza Con Patas Carrasco!

Nacho came to us when he was about eight weeks old. He was about five inches long – about the length of our TV remote control. He gave us a lot of his love in his own weird way. He had a way of “talking” to us in a way that made himself understood. He was really smart. I will miss him. I am sure that if there is a “Doggie Heaven,” he’ll be there. I miss you, Viejo!J


Filed under Dogs, Random Musings

Dog Evolution

Nacho: “What! You’ve got to be kidding!”

And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so. (Genesis 1:24)

I came in late from work the other night, warmed up my dinner and joined my wife in front of the television set to watch the last half of “Hawaii 5-0.” I enjoy this show mostly because I do not need to exert much mental capacity to see through the incredible (a.k.a. “unbelievable”) plots.

After the show, June switched the channel to some animal show. She enjoys all kinds of animal shows, veterinarian shows, and weird shows like “Dr. Pimple Popper.” That explains why I do not watch a lot of T.V. Anyway, the channel she landed on dealt with dog evolution. That piqued my interest, so I stretched out on the couch to watch the rest of the show.

The program started out claiming that all dogs “evolved” from wolves. Evolutionists conveniently conflate two distinct forms of evolution and lump them all together and call it all evolution. However, there is a clear distinction which the evolutionists work hard to blur. They would have us believe that microevolution, minor variations within species, is evidence for macroevolution, which teaches that all life forms, i.e., sea creatures, plants, insects, animals, birds, etc. all sprung from a single-cell creature that resulted from some freak chemical reaction of inert material in some primordial pond. Many problems exist with that notion that would prevent anything to come close enough to where microevolution could take place. Evolutionists cannot explain how macroevolution happens, but they know it did happen because we observe microevolution take place. So, let’s just remove the confusion and call it all evolution.

Setting that debate aside, let’s just play along. Evolutionists want to explain the existence of life without a Life Giver and design without a Designer. If everything just popped into existence, perfectly designed to fill all kinds of environmental niches, there is no need for God.

So the T.V. program proclaimed that all dogs evolved from wolves. I agree with that, only I prefer to say that all dogs descended from wolves – two, in fact, the two Noah carried onboard the Ark. “And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female. Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after his kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive” (Genesis 6:19-20, emphasis mine). That “kind” is the same “kind” that God created back in Genesis 1. We may understand “kind” by the taxonomical term of “family.” Within a “kind,” there exists enough flexibility in the DNA to allow for variation and “speciation.” So from the “wolf kind,” or “canine family” we can get wolves, foxes, jackals, hyenas, dingoes, etc., and our loving canine companions – dogs.

Evolutionists assert that evolution is progressive and that life forms improve through the process, and that weaker forms die off. That is called “survival of the fittest.” However, a close examination of dog evolution shows that the descendants of the pair carried on the Ark, have lost many of the characteristics of the first wolves. Their DNA looses information rather than gaining new information; therefore, it is impossible to breed back up the chain to make wolves out of Chihuahuas.

I found it amusing how the show’s producers discussed breeding programs to “evolve” other varying breeds of dogs. They seemed completely unaware that what they called evolution, which supposedly is a random and purposeless process, actually involved specific purposes determined by an intelligent designer, i.e., the breeder. Great Danes did not just “evolve;” they were bred to be Great Danes by intelligent human beings. Yet somehow, that minor fact seemed to elude the producers of the show.

Wolves did not “evolve” from any other animals. They were created by God in the beginning as the “canine kind.” Dogs and other canine species did not “evolve,” but rather “descended” from wolves (the original canine kind). And the reason we have so many varieties of dogs is that humans, who are created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27), exercised their God-given intelligence to selectively breed dogs for specific purposes. So much for dog evolution!


Filed under Apologetics, Dogs, Evolution, Origins, Theology

Beware of False Prophets

Wolf in Sheeps Clothing

Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.   (Matthew 7:15)

This verse begins with the imperative verb “beware” – the Greek prosecho meaning to pay attention to or be cautious about.  This is not just good advice; it is a command from our Lord.  There are false prophets in abundance all around us.  They come to us sheep, dressed up in sheep’s clothing; that is, they infiltrate Christian gatherings disguised as Christians.  Often they fill great pulpits and attract large crowds.  Jesus warns that they are “ravening wolves.”  The Greek word translated “ravening” is hárpages meaning “rapacious,” i.e., given to seizing for plunder or the satisfaction of greed, and inordinately greedy; predatory; extortionate.  These are out to exploit the flock for their personal gain.  Their strategy is simple: tell the sheep what they want to hear.  “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;” (2 Timothy 4:3).

So how are we to recognize these wolves in sheep’s clothing?  After all, on the surface, they appear harmless.  Jesus provided the answer.  “Ye shall know them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:16a).  Therefore, we are called to be fruit inspectors.  “Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?” (v. 16b).  The concept is simple: “every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit” (v. 17).  The challenge is in discerning the good fruit from the bad fruit.  What standard is to be used?  The Berean church had the right idea.  “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so” (Acts 17:11).  John tells us to “believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1). The Greek word translated “try” is dokimazō, and it means “to test (literally or figuratively); by implication to approve: – allow, discern, examine, (ap-) prove, try.”

Always measure the words of the prophet against the Word of God. “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).  The Greek word translated as “study” is spoudazō  and it means “to use speed, that is, to make effort, be prompt or earnest: – do (give) diligence, be diligent (forward), endeavour, labour, study.”  “Rightly dividing” is the Greek word orthotomeō, which means “to make a straight cut, that is, (figuratively) to dissect (expound) correctly (the divine message): – rightly divide.” So when we make an earnest effort and give diligence to correctly dissecting the Word of God (Truth), we should be able to spot the false prophet because his words will not match up with God’s Word. In this way, we can tell the good fruit from the bad, and never fall prey to the false prophets.

On a somewhat different note, but still very much related: some think that making such judgments is somehow “un-Christian,” and any kind of judging should be avoided. They come to this conclusion because earlier, in this same chapter of Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus said, “Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again” (Matthew 7:1-2). Obviously, from what Jesus said afterward, He did not mean for us to put our discernment on the shelf. We need to exercise discernment and to make judgments in order to identify the false prophets disguised in sheep’s clothing. What we are not to do is pass “holier-than-thou” judgments on our brothers and sisters in Christ except to help them out of some error or sin into which they have fallen. For that a close self-examination is required before proceeding. As for the wolves, beware, be vigilant, and learn to recognize their false message.


Filed under Apologetics, Christianity, Dogs, End Times, Gospel, Religion

Later, Little Friend


And in that day will I make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven, and with the creeping things of the ground: and I will break the bow and the sword and the battle out of the earth, and will make them to lie down safely. (Hosea 2:18)

About two months ago I wrote about our little dog Tina in my article “Doggie Heaven.” At that time her obvious declining health helped prepare us for the inevitable. I wrote the piece with a heavy heart, and with a rather hopeless feeling that this would be the end forever. Like many people, I believed that only humans are immortal (in essence) because, after all, we have been created in the “image of God” (Genesis 1:26). Animals are God’s creatures, and He cares about them, but they do not bear the Imago Dei. That remains a true statement, but I have come to the conclusion that my former belief that only humans have an eternal soul is false.

Shortly after posting that article, a very good and respected friend gave me a book by Gary Kurz to encourage me as I walked though this “valley of the shadow of death.” In the book, Cold Noses at the Pearly Gates, Kurz walks us though Scripture and demonstrates, through Scripture alone, that animals do indeed have eternal souls, and they do go to heaven when they die. This assurance made my heart glad because it was the conclusion to which I was coming on my own. I cannot possibly cover every aspect in this short post that Kurz takes an entire book to cover, but the concept, when you seriously think about it, is very simple.  When God completed His work of creation, He said it was “very good.” There was no sin in the world, neither was there any death. (This fact should make Christians reject evolution in any way, shape or form. Death is NOT “very good.”) Every creature having the “breath of life” (Hebrew: ruach) was meant to live forever. Death is the enemy (1 Corinthians 15:26); therefore death could not be part of a “very good” creation. But through man’s sin, death entered the world (Romans 5:12) and the whole creation was affected (Romans 8:22). Animals suffer the curse of death even though they are innocent of sin. This is why animals were slain from the very beginning (Genesis 3:21) to atone for the sins of man – innocent blood was required. But the blood of animals cannot atone for the sins of man (Hebrews 9:12), only the sinless blood of the Lamb of God could atone for our sins. Jesus died for the sins of man. He did not die for animals, because they did not sin. In time, He will make all things new (Revelation 21:5). When He does, all those sparrows who escaped not His notice when they fell, will fill the New Heavens and New Earth, and so will all His other creatures as the prophet said (Isaiah 11:6-9; 65:25). All those animals in whom is the “breath of life” will live again.

Last weekend, our little Tina fought for every breath. Early Saturday morning, in the middle of the night we took her to the animal ER thinking that we might have to put her down that night. The vet gave her some injections to help her discomfort and sent us home. Later that morning, Tina was not doing any better, it seemed, so we took her in to our regular vet. He diagnosed her with bloat and prescribed barium to help relieve the gas and Benadryl to help with her breathing. But that did not help either, and she continued to struggle for every breath. Poor baby was so tired, but she had to hold herself up in order to breathe, and could not lay down to sleep or rest. It was such a pitiful sight to watch her sit in the middle of the floor, head drooping down trying to sleep but unable to. That night we propped her up with towels and medicated her so she could rest. The next day, Sunday, was another day of fighting for every breath. Monday morning came and we took our baby to the vet one last time. We came home without her. I held her in my arms as the vet administered the fatal injection, and as I watched her ruach leave her little body, I wept uncontrollably – we both did.

Almost a week has gone by, and there is not a day that goes by that we don’t think about her. She was just a little dog, but she left such a big hole in our lives. The book my friend gave me, Cold Noses at the Pearly Gates, has given me the assurance that even though she is gone for now, she is not gone forever. We will see her again. And she’ll have both eyes!

Later, little friend!



Filed under Christianity, Creation, Dogs, End Times, Gospel, Religion, Salvation, Theology